I also wanted to remind our readers why I chose Romney in the primaries and why he got my vote for the office of President of the United States.
Originally posted on December 28, 2011:
As 2011 closes out and 2012 begins, the real countdown clock to a Republican nominee to defeat Barack Obama starts ticking. Four true choices remain – Gingrich, Paul, Romney and Santorum. I include Paul because even as I do not consider him electable, his Constitutional positions are going to have an impact on the eventual nomination process. Similarily, I do not think that Santorum can generate enough excitement at this point to carry the day – he is basically a male Michelle Bachmann from a policy standpoint.
First up is the Hawkeye Cauci (the Iowa Caucuses) in less than a week on January 3rd.
There is a great resource to find dates for all the primaries here at 2012 Election Central.
I have to admit that I supported Romney in the 2008 races against McCain and I have actually met him while working as a volunteer at the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. He is very impressive in person and what he did in turning the Salt Lake Organizing Committee around was nothing short of miraculous. People forget how scandal ridden the process was leading up to Romney taking over – there were people who went to jail over the corruption that was going on (yes, even in Utah there is corruption – Mormons are flawed people just like everybody else).
Even given that, I have struggled with the “next in line” process of the Republican Beltway Establishment. I have struggled with the fact that while I am not as convinced as some of my good friends that there is in effect only one party, I do believe that there is a permanent political class who puts self-preservation first over all. Like many, I was really hoping for a candidate who would base a campaign on classical liberalism…and could be electable. That was the reason that I supported Herman Cain until he self-destructed in a cloud of bimbo dust.
Some absolute rules of politics are these: 1) you can’t govern if you can’t get elected, 2) you can’t change government from the outside, therefore, 3) electability is important, 4) true political change is a long term proposition and 5) we need the presidency AND control of Congress to make any structural changes. This may appear to create a “Sophie’s choice” sort of thing for conservative Republicans who will have to choose a candidate by electability over being a perfect conservative but only if we singularly focus only on the next election. I know many people who voted for Bob Barr in 2008 because they couldn’t stomach voting for McCain but voting for an unelectable candidate is a guarantee to get a Democrat elected. Even a 60% conservative Republican is better than any Democrat.
Pragmatism does not mean compromising on conservative principles; it means that the focus is on the long term implementation of conservative policy by winning elections with people who know how to play the long game. It means planting the seeds of conservatism the same way that Democrats have planted the seeds of liberalism.
I’m a conservative first and a pragmatic Republican second.
If people want to ignore the reality of national electoral politics and continue to vote for the Bob Barr’s and Ron Paul’s of the world, then by all means, enjoy your quest for conservative purity, that is your right but be careful in your righteousness because true change agents are seldom pure ideologues. They can’t be and be successful because true change involves leadership and leadership requires inspiration of everybody, not just your supporters. Reagan was an example of a true change agent.
If conservatives don’t learn how to play the long game, we should get prepared to settle in for more Democratic presidents and Congresses for years to come. Then we can all come back here after 2012 and commiserate about how much losing sucks and bitch about liberals…or we can start working a plan so that our kids won’t have to have the same conversations. Our choice.
I truly do understand the need for a sort of ideological purity. I support it – I want it. Earlier I thought it might be Newt, I even stated that in a post titled “Here We Go Again” and here in “Practical Politics Practiced Politically” but I remain unconvinced that Newt can actually be elected in a national election – his marital situations, his conversion to Catholicism, his history as an insurgent who appears to have turned insider when the lobbying dollars came calling just present too much of a target rich environment for me to believe that he can survive the general election and be the standard bearer.
While I agree that choosing Mitt Romney is not ideal, I think that there is a significant segment of Republican voters who are wishing for the second coming of Reagan. Many of those who are, are not even old enough to remember Reagan or actually lived during his administration. As such, they do not remember Reagan as he was, they have learned the nostalgic version of the story. Reagan was fighting a staunchly Democratic Congress and leadership for most of his two terms and even he had to barter conservative principles to accomplish his goals. I have written that:
I love Ronald Reagan. I believe that Reagan was one of the greatest presidents in the history of the Republic, right up there with Washington and Jefferson – but Reagan’s legacy has been squandered because conservatives were not able to build on his presidency by following up with a president and Congress that would take conservatism to the next level, instead we got Bush I – the weakness and moderation of whom gave us Clinton. Clinton kept the leftward push going (temporarily halted by the 1994 Republican Revolution) by introducing things like Hillarycare (Obamacare’s momma). Even though Hillarycare didn’t take, the seed was planted for Obama to fertilize. Clinton was successful enough in keeping the leftward trend going that it made a moderate Republican, a big-government “conservative”, look like a real conservative. We got 8 years of Bush II…but even that was better than a Gore or Kerry administration.
In reality, our wistful memories of Reagan are a little bit of cheerful nostalgia. We remember him as a staunch conservative, and he was, but the government he was given was not. Through his amazing communication skills and ability to connect with an American people fed up with Carter, he was able to get several major conservative policies enacted but he still had a Democratic controlled, big spending, Congress to deal with and Congressional leaders like Robert Byrd and Tip O’Neill who were directionally oppositional to conservative policies. The big example is how they screwed him on immigration by promising reform tomorrow for amnesty today. Reagan upheld his end of the bargain but the Democrats lied and immigration reform died.
I read Ann Coulter’s piece on Mitt Romney this afternoon and it rang true for me, something that I cannot say about anything that have read about Newt. Ann writes:
In the upcoming presidential election, two issues are more important than any others: repealing Obamacare and halting illegal immigration. If we fail at either one, the country will be changed permanently.
Taxes can be raised and lowered. Regulations can be removed (though they rarely are). Attorneys general and Cabinet members can be fired. Laws can be repealed. Even Supreme Court justices eventually die.
But capitulate on illegal immigration, and the entire country will have the electorate of California. There will be no turning back.
Similarly, if Obamacare isn’t repealed in the next few years, it never will be.
America will begin its ineluctable descent into becoming a worthless Western European country, with rotten health care, no money for defense and ever-increasing federal taxes to support the nanny state.
So let’s consider which of the Republican candidates are most likely to succeed at these objectives.
In order to allow Democrats to indignantly denounce Republicans who said Obamacare would add to the deficit, the bill was structured so that no goodies get paid out immediately. That way, when the Congressional Budget Office was asked to determine if Obamacare was “revenue neutral” over its first 10 years, government accountants were looking at a bill that collected taxes for 10 years, but only distributed treats in the later years.
Starting at year 11, those accountants will be in for a big surprise when the government starts paying out Obamacare benefits without interruption.
Because of this accounting fraud, Obamacare can still be repealed. But as soon as all Americans have been thrown off their employer-provided insurance plans and are forced to start depending on the government for health care, Republicans will never be able to repeal it.
The only way to stop Obamacare is to beat Obama in 2012, and repeal it before the health care Leviathan is born.
Otherwise, starting in 2016, Republicans will run for office promising only to improve Obamacare. Newt Gingrich will be calling plans to reform it “right-wing social engineering.”
On illegal immigration, she writes:
Only Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney aren’t trying to sneak through amnesty for illegal aliens. Both support E-Verify.
Numbers USA, one of the leading groups opposed to our current insane immigration policies, gives Republican presidential candidates the following grades on immigration: Paul, F; Gingrich, D-minus; Huntsman, D-minus; Santorum, D-minus; Perry, D; Romney, C-minus; and Bachmann, B-minus.
And that was before Romney said last week that Obama’s drunk-driving, illegal alien uncle should be deported!
That leaves us with Romney and Bachmann as the candidates with the strongest, most conservative positions on illegal immigration. As wonderful as Michele Bachmann is, 2012 isn’t the year to be trying to make a congresswoman the first woman president.
Coulter also addresses the electability issue:
All current Republican presidential candidates say they will overturn Obamacare. The question for Republican primary voters should be: Who is most likely to win?
2012 is not a year for a wild card. It’s not a year for any candidate who will end up being the issue, instead of making Obama the issue. It’s not a year for one wing of the Republican Party to be making a point with another wing. (And there are no Rockefeller Republicans left, anyway.) It’s not a year to be gambling that America will vote for its first woman president, or that the country is ready for a nut-bar libertarian.
Running against an incumbent president in a make-or-break election, Republicans need a candidate with a track record of winning elections with voters similar to the entire American electorate.
We need to be reminded that the national election in November is not a choice of the lesser of two evils. It is a choice between good and evil.
We also have to remember that we need the hat trick, that we need the whole enchilada to get where we need to go and the presidency is only one facet. With the Ben Nelson’s retirement announcement, that brings the total of exiting Senate Democrats to eight. We now have an odds-on chance to take control of the Senate and kick Harry the Funeral Director to the curb, hold the House (maybe even add to the majority there) AND win the Presidency. We need them all. We need to appoint and confirm a traditionalist judiciary; we need total support to push through necessary tax reforms and spending cuts. We need less regulation and supply side economic reform. We need a strong military and a strong and enforceable foreign policy. We need to rejuvenate and support energy exploration and a sensible energy policy. We cannot accomplish any of what needs to be done without controlling all three branches of our government.
So, there you go. Mitt is it.
For the aforementioned reasons, I support Mitt Romney for President of the United States of America.